If you experience problems with smells, smoke or rubbish accumulations that cause you disturbance, affect the enjoyment of your property or harm your health you may be able to take action by reporting it to us.

You should always try to solve the problem by talking to whoever is responsible for the smell, smoke or rubbish accumulation before contacting us.

You can read our neighbour nuisance guide to find general advice on your rights and the law.

What we can investigate

Smells, smoke or rubbish accumulations can be classed as a statutory nuisance. We can investigate nuisance if it substantially interferes with the use or enjoyment of your home or is likely to injure health.

You can report problems with:

  • smells (including dust and steam)
  • smoke (including soot or ash from a premises)
  • fumes or gas from a private dwelling
  • accumulation or deposit of rubbish

How to report it

You can report smells, smoke or rubbish using our online form.

Make sure you include:

  • your name and contact details
  • a detailed description of the problem
  • the location of the problem
  • how often it has happened

The more evidence you can provide of the problem you are experiencing and the impact it is having on you, the easier it is for us to respond and find a resolution.


To make an emergency complaint about a smell out of office hours, you can call 01454 868001.

If the issue is not an emergency it will be processed within the usual response time.

If the smell is of gas call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.

Smells of drains or rotting food are generally not a health risk so can be investigated in line with our standard response time.

Petrol or chemicals can smell bad even when the problem is too small to be dangerous so can be investigated in line with our standard response time.

What happens next            

We will contact you to discuss the complaint within 10 working days. Cases where there is the potential for a significant risk to public health will be prioritised.

We will not respond to complaints about delays in our service to make sure we can focus on case work.

If we cannot help you, we will explain why or refer the matter if another agency should be involved.

We may issue you with a log sheet to track the problem over 3 to 4 weeks. These provide vital evidence and will be used if the case goes to court.

Investigating the problem

We will not normally contact the subject of the complaint until we have enough evidence to support the complaint.

In most cases evidence will be completed log sheets but may also include information from third parties.

We may visit to assess the nuisance a maximum of 3 times. Visits will be undertaken at the times a nuisance is most likely to be witnessed. This is based on information from the log sheets. Extra visits may be undertaken in exceptional circumstances.

Cases vary but our aim is to complete investigations within 12 weeks.

More information

You can also:

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